Hi, I'm Emma, and I live with my partner and two-year-old son in a small-ish village just outside of Hungerford, Berks. Originally, I'm from North Yorkshire, and that's where most of my family still live, but I moved to Hungerford in 2005 to set up home with Stu, and here is where we're now raising our boy.
Long before this website and my family came into existence, I was a Desktop Support Engineer at Vodafone in Newbury, where I'd been working for around eight years. But I was finding that after being on a constant treadmill of 9-5 work for over eighteen years, I'd reached that point where I was wondering "Is this all there is to life?'. The answer was No as it turned out, because I was accepted for Voluntary Redundancy, fell pregnant and became a mum all in the space of 10 months! It was a lot to get my head around. And now that I'm three years four months into my SAHM role, I'm really feeling the need to get back to being a worker and earner once again. The difference now is that having a child means that a 9-5 work day is no longer viable, since it's not really family-friendly, so that's why this website came into existence, as it's part of my long-term goal to become a Freelance Web Designer.
I got the bug for Web Design when I created my first website using a template back in 2011. The subject content was Family History, because I was actively researching my own, and after planning the layout, then coding my first page, encountering problems, and painstakingly resolving them, I was hooked! It was then I had my lightbulb moment, and realised Web Design motivated me in a way that IT Support no longer did. I also realised that I could either carry on in a role that no longer interested me, or start making the gradual transition to a new work direction. The trouble was, after a long day at work, the last thing I had the brain power for was an evening of coding, so the reality was that nothing actually changed for a long time. Until motherhood happened!
Charlie was born in December 2014, and so followed a whirlwind 18 months of settling into a brand new, unpredictable role that I could never have prepared for, and am still learning about if I'm honest. But as soon as motherhood gave the first glimpses of settling itself into some kind of routine (sometime during March 2016), it meant I had a window of around two hours in the evenings, and so I used some of it to revisit my coding-in-the-evenings plan. It seems crazy now to think that when I was child-free and working full-time, that I was too tired to code in the evenings, but now with a baby to care for, a house to run, and very little sleep, I was more than willing to make the effort to code in the evenings, regardless of how tired I was.
I spent lots of time on Codecademy learning about Bootstrap, HTML and CSS, and then decided to throw myself in at the deep end, and fulfil a promise to a friend (and former work colleague) that I'd made several years earlier, about refreshing his hobbyist website and bringing it inline with current web standards (the G33 Project can be viewed in my portfolio gallery). This particular website was 36 pages long, and as I was only able to code in the evenings, what should have been a month's project, actually took me a year to complete! He was happy with the results though, and so it spurred me onwards. I've now created a further two websites - one of which is my own Web Design portfolio - and purchased my own name as a domain to begin building my portfolio website, which is a continual "work in progress" (as I think is probably the case for most Web Designers).
Charlie is now two-and-a-half, and currently attending Pre-Nursery five mornings a week. Those five mornings also give me the opportunity to complete household jobs, and spend some time working on web projects.
I'm really fortunate to be in a position where there was no urgency for me to return to work once Charlie was born, as we can manage to survive on my partner's earnings with careful planning. But this doesn't mean I dismissed the world of work completely, or that I feel comfortable relying on my partner for financial support. Quite the opposite - I've been a worker since I was eighteen!!
In just over two years time, Charlie will be starting full-time education (something I can't bear to think about at the moment!), and this then gives me the opportunity to return to work. However, since having Charlie, my view of the working world has changed drastically, and I'm no longer in favour of the 37-hour grind of my old life, but am more in favour of a flexible working life that I can balance with family needs. I'm aware that a lot of people are looking for that nowadays, but I also know it's more achievable than it ever used to be. So with those twenty-six months in mind, I'm using my spare time in the evenings to build my Web Design skills with online courses, while also working on projects to build up my portfolio, with the aim of being a self-employed Web Designer by the time my toddler is in full time education. That's a lot of work to pack in, but I do love a challenge!